So based on my own personal experience, and combined with what I tend to see in the forum and chat room, it seems like Week 2 is where things seem to get really hard for us.
We've gotten far enough into our games to bump up against the hard parts, we've done enough to realize we've made mistakes in our code and headed in the wrong direction in some places, and life is working as hard as possible to catch back up to us.
So I ask the question to you guys. What are you doing, or what can we do to stay focused and keep moving forward for the other two-thirds of the challenge?
I want to hear from you guys too, but let me share a couple of pieces of advice of my own.
First, with respect to that whole "life trying to catch up" thing, it's a fact. With a 1 day or a weekend-long challenge like Ludum Dare, it's easy to just suspend life for the whole competition. Everything can wait a couple of days, and then you can leave the game and get back to it and take care of things.
With a month-long challenge, life will inevitably force its way back in, as it should. And I think this is good. It's one of the reasons I like the month time frame. Life still moves on, and you have to actually make a lifestyle change to get game dev in. But the other side is that you have to force your pace to become sustainable. Spending 18 hours a day for a 2.5 day weekend just simply isn't sustainable long term. A 30 day challenge forces you to find a way to get game dev in while still having a life.
So I recommend finding ways to find a balance between the two on a daily basis. You'll have to spend at least some time every day juggling normal life stuff like laundry or taking your car into the shop. Don't let it all pile up. Take care of it as it comes up.
But on the other hand, don't let the game dev get neglected. I tend to find that the weekends are where I get the most done. I can usually get more done on a Saturday than on Monday through Friday combined. But I've learned by doing these competitions that if I don't do something every day, when Saturday hits, I've lost my forward momentum and it takes hours to get back in the groove.
So I have a personal goal to spend at least 30 minutes each day doing game dev. It keeps me on focus throughout the week, and lets me knock out small little features and keep the momentum going.
So my own suggestion: find a sustainable balance between life and game dev. Do a little of both every day.
(I should probably throw in rest/relaxing/entertainment into the mix too.)
What advice do you guys have for me?